04 December 2005

Army base considered for new police station

Sunday Life

By Sunday Life reporter
04 December 2005

AN Armagh military base - which is due to close next month - could have a new future . . . as a police station.

Fort Mahon barracks in Portadown is being considered as a new base for local cops, who are set to move from Edward Street in the town centre.

Robert Smith, DUP deputy mayor of Craigavon, said it would be good move for both the police and civilian workers.

He said: "I would welcome the move and it would also save the cost of having to build a new police station in the Portadown area.

"A PSNI move to the Mahon site could also save a number of civilian jobs there, which would have been lost had the base closed."

But Mr Smith said he would still like to see some form of police presence retained in the centre of Portadown.

Earlier this year, the Army confirmed it intended to close Fort Mahon and relocate two companies of the RIR to Drumadd in Armagh.

The current police station in Edward Street station is unsuitable for modern-day policing.

One police source said: "Mahon has been a military base since the early 1970s and it would be an excellent location for the PSNI in Portadown.

"The buildings are in good condition and were purpose-built for the military, so they can easily be adapted to suit the needs of the PSNI.

"It would be a welcome change from the cramped conditions at Edward Street - it would also be more cost-effective than building a completely new station."

The Mahon camp has its own helicopter landing-pad, security towers, fortified sangers and CCTV system.

A public consultation process is currently under way in Portadown to discuss the closure of the Edward Street station.

The process is due to end shortly, when the local District Policing Partnership (DPP) decides the next step.

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